On a cold, bright day in early November, the love of two doctors transformed a cavernous industrial space in Queens into a place of such warmth and intimacy that Day photographer Lauren Larsen couldn’t stop smiling. Yes, it helped that Ilyssa and Jake had the multifaceted talents of planners, designers and florists and the presence of 200-plus friends and family filling the venue. But this was the kind of warmth generated not merely by externals but by two lives joined in mutual passion and purpose.
Just a borough away from Brooklyn, where the couple first met during their pediatric residency, the couple stood draped in a rainbow-striped tallis and voluminous veil and exchanged vows. For Ilyssa, the blur of planning that had been the past nine months became real the moment she heard the first chords of Ben Folds’ song “The Luckiest,” the groom’s cue to start walking down the aisle and an intimation of the days and years to come:
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face,
Now I see it every day
And I know
That I am the luckiest.
Not only was Ilyssa and Jake’s day a joining of two lives but of two different palates, which became evident after the exquisitely catered dinner was cleared and the dance floor became mobbed by late-night revelers. It was there that man and wife joined hands and partook in the ultimate after-party treat for a Southerner like Jake: a Chick-fil-A sandwich—a little piece of home for the transplanted Atlantan and the only item on his wedding day wish list.
My dress was the easiest decision for me. From the second I put it on I knew it was the one I had to wear. While standing in the dressing room, I could actually picture myself in the venue walking down the aisle to Jake in that dress.
How and when did you meet?
Ilyssa: We met at work when we were both pediatric residents in Brooklyn. I was actually a year ahead of him so technically I was his boss! I asked him to translate Spanish for me and I think he was probably afraid to say no. That was the first time we talked.
Which quality do you most admire in each other?
Ilyssa: His passion and dedication in everything he does. It’s evident in his career, in his relationships with friends and family—not to mention in our relationship.
Jake: She’s so sincere, patient and smart. (She’s smarter than me even though she won’t admit it.) I also admire her love for her friends and family.
What was on your wedding day wish list?
Ilyssa: I can say Jake’s wish list consisted of one thing: Chick-fil-A at the after party. Somehow our wedding planners at Alimay were able to pull it off. (Ali and Maya are the absolute best!) As for me—I won’t lie—there wasn’t only one thing on my wish list. Most of all I wanted the entire vibe of the evening to feel romantic and reflect us as a couple.
Signing our ketubah was one of the most important parts of the entire wedding for us. To have this amazing piece of artwork that has so much meaning behind it displayed in our house is really amazing.
Ilyssa & Jake
When we were all lined up behind the curtain ready to walk down the aisle and the band started playing Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest,” which was the song Jake chose to walk down the aisle to, I remember thinking, oh my g_d, this song is playing, this is happening. It was one of the moments where I truly couldn’t believe that this was our wedding and all I could think about was how lucky I was.
What was the easiest wedding planning decision you made?
Ilyssa: My dress was the easiest decision for me. From the second I put it on I knew it was the one I had to wear. While standing in the dressing room, I could actually picture myself in the venue walking down the aisle to Jake in that dress. Actually, I can’t think of any difficult decisions. I really trusted all of our vendors with our vision for the day and let them do a lot of the details.
What details did you include that you think best reflected your personalities?
Ilyssa: The entire wedding from start to finish truly reflected our personalities and our love for each other. There was nothing that felt out of character.
What memory of each other on your day stands out the most in your mind?
Ilyssa: There are so many moments from that day that stand out but one in particular for me was when we were all lined up behind the curtain ready to walk down the aisle and the band started playing Ben Folds “The Luckiest,” which was the song Jake chose to walk down the aisle to. I remember thinking, oh my g_d, this song is playing, this is happening. It was one of the moments where I truly couldn’t believe that this was our wedding and all I could think about was how lucky I was.
What was running through your mind while walking down the aisle?
Ilyssa & Jake: It’s a feeling that doesn’t have words; it’s beyond the feeling of joy and excitement. It’s a feeling we both hope to remember for the rest of our lives.
Did anything surprise you?
Ilyssa & Jake: Nothing too surprising, which is probably a good thing, but we were shocked at how quickly the entire day goes by.
If you could choose only one memento or souvenir from your day to keep, what would it be?
Ilyssa & Jake: We kept lots of things from that day—programs, yarmulkes, napkins, flowers—but the item we took away that has the most meaning is our ketubah. Signing our ketbuah was one of the most special and important parts of the entire wedding for us and to have this amazing piece of artwork that has so much meaning behind it that we get to display in our house is really amazing.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Ilyssa & Jake: Literally nothing.
- Photographer Lauren Larsen
- Second Photographer Lina Shteyn
- Planner Alimay Events
- Venue Knockdown Center
- Dress Inbal Dror
- Decor Atlas Floral Decorators
- Lighting BML—Blackbird
- Catering Marcia Selden Catering
- Cake Lulu’s Cake Boutique
- Hair Jeff Chastain
- Makeup Maureen Pedala
- Music Chevy Chevis Entertainment
- Video McKenzie Miller
- Stationery East Six